June 10th sees the thrilling culmination of the UEFA Champions League. The 31st version of the event since it was renamed will take place in front of a predicted attendance of around 75,000 fans in Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
This year’s final will be between Manchester City and Inter Milan. The Italian side last won the Championship in 2010, beating Bayern Munich 2-0.
Manchester City have never won the title in their history. Despite this, they are being heavily favoured by the bookies to lift this year’s title.
They are currently tipped at -225 (4/9) favourites, making them the largest betting favourite in Champions League history.
It is no surprise that there is an ever bigger than normal betting market for this year’s final, with punters are scrambling to find the best deals in order to place their wagers before kick-off.
To beat their competition, betting sites have incentives such as sign up bonuses or accepting payment methods like Boku which do not incur any hidden fees when depositing cash.
It’s been a long and difficult journey for both teams to reach the final, but now the end is in sight. Below we take a look at the road taken by Inter Milan and Manchester City to reach the final of the Champions League.
Already crowned as the English Premier League champions after seeing off a challenge from Arsenal, many feel that is could be a year of the treble for Pep Guardiola’s team.
All they need to achieve this is to beat local rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final and then to go on and defeat Inter Milan in the Champions Cup final.
As we’ve mentioned, they are strong favourites for the latter, and also odds-on to carry off the domestic trophy too. To reach the Champions League finals, many obstacles have already been overcome.
Going back to the group stage they were pitted against some tough opposition with the other three teams being Borussia Dortmund, Copenhagen and this year’s Europa Cup winners, Sevilla.
With four wins and two 0-0 draws City topped the table, easily advancing to the knockout phase with each round involving two legs.
First up was the German side RB Leipzig. They were easily swept aside including a second leg goal frenzy with a 7-0 score line.
Next up were Bayern Munich. City won the first game 3-0 but were held to a 1-1 draw in the second. Nevertheless, the 4-1 aggregate score saw them advance to a semi-final against Real Madrid, the most successful team in the competition’s recent history.
They too were fairly easily despatched with an aggregate score of 5-1, and qualification for the final was achieved.
In their domestic season, Inter Milan have had a successful if not spectacular year finishing third in Serie A, some 18 points behind the winners Napoli.
Placed in Group C of the Champions League, their opponents were Bayern Munich, the Czech team Viktoria Plzeň and Barcelona.
With three wins, two draws and one loss, they ended up second in the group behind Bayern Munich while Barcelona’s troubled season saw them relegated to the Europa League.
Advancing to the knockout phase of the tournament it’s fair to say that it’s not all been plain sailing for Inter Milan, and certainly far more of a struggle than for their opponents in the final.
Drawn against Porto in the round of 16, they managed to scrape a 1-0 aggregate victory after two very tough games between the very evenly matched teams.
They then had to face the other big Portuguese side, Benfica. After winning the first leg 2-0 the second match was a 3-3 thriller that saw Inter advance to meet their local rivals AC Milan.
This proved to be a much easier proposition with results of 2-0 and 1-0 seeing them through to the final.
There are a number of key players in each team who are set to make big contributions on the night.
For Manchester City one of these will undoubtedly be Erling Haaland, the 22 year old named as the Premier League’s Player of the Season for his 35 goals in 36 games.
Also, one to watch will be Kevin De Bruyne, surely one of the world’s best midfielders playing today.
For Inter all eyes are likely to be on the Cameroonian keeper André Onana. He’s sure to be kept busy not just by Haaland but by others including Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez.
He’ll also need all the support he can get from the centre-back Francesco Acerbi if the attacks from City are to be resisted – but he should be more than up to the task.
They will also need to decide who starts in the attack and midfield as both Lukaku and Brozovic are both looking to be back to their best.
While it looks like Inter will very much be on the back foot, this is an unpredictable sport and either team could easily come out on top.
We have seen many great underdog stories in the Champions League, and all the pressure of being the bookies favourites and aiming for a first ever title as well as a Treble may prove too much for Manchester City.
Overall, it is set to be a fascinating encounter in Istanbul.